New Residence (Albert Street)



Overview

The Queen’s Board of Trustees has approved the development of a new five-storey Albert Street student residence.

Queen’s is building a new 316-335 bed student residence building on main campus that will target Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

The LEED Gold certification is one of the most popular green building certification programs recognized worldwide, with Gold being the second-highest rating.

The new residence building will be located on Albert Street on the Northside of campus. The site(s) are currently occupied by five (5) university-owned houses (142-154 Albert Street).

Two of these charming houses at 142 Albert and 144 Albert Street will be either partially or fully integrated into the new building in an effort to retain some of the look and feel of the area.

Occupancy is slated for September 2022 with construction anticipated starting in the spring/summer of 2020.

The Albert Street location was chosen after three potential building sites were analyzed in March of 2019, by external firms Diamond Schmitt Architects and Shoalts & Zaback.

Staff have worked closely with the City to date, and the project will not exceed five residential stories or encroach on the neighbouring daycare property immediately north on Albert. The University is committed to maintaining as many of the existing mature street trees as possible

Part of the Site Plan Approval Application (SPA) to the city also includes the planting of butternut trees in the arboretum in front of Summerhill. This specific location for the planting will ensure that the butternut trees are protected.

Our SPA agreement also ensures that the City’s standards for developing the land are respected, including assurance that the land is developed, designed and operationalized appropriately. The new residence building will not include a food service outlet, which will limit the number of deliveries to the building. 

Queen’s remains committed to guaranteeing a residence experience for all of our first-year undergraduate students. The new residence will help in supporting slight undergraduate enrollment growth in 2022 while also serving as a place to house students as we work to renovate some of our older residences.

We will continue to work with area residents to ensure we inform them of potential disruptions and what is being done to mitigate construction impacts.

Project Renderings

Related Links

View the site plan approval documentation (record #D11-036-2019) via the City of Kingston’s Development and Services Hub.

Calendar of Events

Upcoming Events

Queen’s is proposing the construction of a new student residence, with a LEED Gold target, on the north-west side of its main campus in Kingston.

A public information session is being held to give interested members of the community an opportunity to learn more about the proposal and speak with members of the project team.

Public information session: Wednesday, November 6, 2019 (4:00-6:00 pm)

This event is a casual drop-in format featuring updated information boards, an architectural model, and an opportunity to interact directly with project team members. Participants will also have the opportunity to sign up to receive project updates.

Project News

Check back here for stories and information concerning construction activities that may be of interest to the community

Contact

If you have questions or comments please contact the team at newresidenceproject@queensu.ca


Frequently asked questions

How and why did you choose the West side of Albert Street as the location for the new residence building?

With few vacant parcels remaining on Main Campus, there are limited major development opportunities.  Therefore, new facilities and uses must be of the highest and best use for their location in order to meet immediate needs while ensuring flexibility for the future.  The Queen’s Campus Master Plan greatly informed the process of determining the most appropriate location for a new student residence.

The Campus Master Plan was completed in the spring of 2014 after a 15-month study period. The vision and recommendations contained in the plan are meant to ensure that the University physically evolves in response to contemporary learning, research, and social needs and that its campus continues to be an exceptional place for students, faculty, staff and Kingston neighbours. As part of the master plan process, a comprehensive consultation program was undertaken that included community events and multiple opportunities for dialogue online, to ensure the Plan was developed in a collaborative manner.

A key consideration for identifying a potential location for the new residence included an appreciation for the historical significance of existing buildings on campus.  As part of the master planning process, buildings were assessed for their historic significance in order to fully understand the highest development potential on campus. 

Buildings identified in blue in Figure 2-3 of the Master Plan have significant heritage value and are required to be protected and incorporated into the new development.  Buildings in purple indicate sites that may be considered for redevelopment but will require special design attention regarding compatibility with adjacent historic neighbourhoods. 

Figure 2-3: Historic Significance (Source: Campus Master Plan, 2014).

Chapter 4 of the Campus Master Plan acknowledges that Queen’s is an urban University centrally located in Kingston.  In addition, as a University with two campuses, the neighbourhoods between these campuses become a daily part of the Queen’s experience.  There is a need to think holistically about the relationship between campuses and the neighbourhoods surrounding them and how campus-wide systems can be co-ordinated to better integrate the campuses.  In particular, campus residences are to be focused to areas with an existing concentration of residence buildings and University-owned lands bordering residential communities. 

Figure 4-4 in the Campus Master Plan identifies different places on and near the campuses that are considered appropriate for different types of housing.  As seen in the figure below, the west side of Albert Street is included within this area, while the Tindall parking lot is excluded from the area intended to accommodate student housing uses. 

Figure 4-4: Campus Housing (Source: Campus Master Plan, 2014)
Figure 4-4: Campus Housing (Source: Campus Master Plan, 2014).

This direction is reinforced in the Precinct Plan applicable to this site.  The Precinct Plans are an important tool for implementing the Campus Master Plan.  They consolidate the opportunities and requirements for campus evolution for each renewal and development site on a place-by-place basis.  The proposed residence site is located within Main Campus Precinct 2 – Tindall Precinct and is identified as Development Parcel 2A.  Development Parcel 2A contemplates the demolition of the existing five buildings and construction of a new structure with a central courtyard.  Permitted uses within 2A include academic, administrative and student residence uses.  The Tindall parking lot on the east side of Albert Street is identified as Development Parcel 2B.  Permitted uses include academic uses, a welcome centre, below-grade parking and athletic and related facilities.  A student residence is not envisioned on Development Parcel 2B.

Figure 9-10: Main Campus Precinct 2 (Source: Campus Master Plan, 2014).
Figure 9-10: Main Campus Precinct 2 (Source: Campus Master Plan, 2014).

As noted previously, the preparation of the Master Plan involved a comprehensive consultation program to ensure the Plan and its recommendations were developed collaboratively.  The consultation program consisted of numerous in-person and online engagement opportunities.  The in-person consultation program included three open houses, a public lecture, a series of stakeholder interviews, and a visioning workshop with invited Queen’s and City of Kingston representatives.  The online engagement program provided an additional forum for community input.  The University hosted a central website with access to study information and materials, while the Consultant Team managed a blog, a Twitter account and a Facebook page to share information, gather input, and host an ongoing dialogue about the physical campus and Queen’s life. 

It is intended that the University will continue its pattern of comprehensively reviewing and updating the Plan on a 10-year cycle.  As part of a future update, Queen’s will introduce the recently acquired St. Mary’s of the Lake property to the master plan and will undertake a comprehensive visioning and consultation program (which will again include area residents), to inform the future use of this site.  In the meantime, the immediate need to construct a student residence can be appropriately accommodated on Albert Street in the proximity of existing food and student life services.

This direction is also found within the Kingston Official Plan, which contains specific policies for Queen’s University.  Section 3.5.A.1 recognizes five existing principal areas of facilities belonging to Queen’s University and directs that the development of these five areas occur through a master planning process.  In this context, it would be premature to advance any major development or re-development of the St. Mary’s of the Lake property until such time as it is examined through a master planning exercise in consultation with the community.

Can you explain the municipal planning approval process?

The Albert Street site is designated Institutional in the City of Kingston Official Plan and is zoned Special Education and Medical Uses “E”.  The proposed student residence use is permitted within these designation and zone categories.  The building is being designed to meet the performance standards of the “E” zone (i.e. setbacks, density, etc.).

The residence will be subject to the Site Plan Control process.  Site Plan Control approval is a technical exercise which ensures the detailed design of the development is appropriate in terms of servicing, access, landscaping and overall quality and appearance.  Detailed plans will be required to be submitted, reviewed and approved by City staff prior to the issuance of building permits.

How will the new residence building be integrated into the surrounding homes to keep the original look and feel of Albert Street?

Queen’s historic buildings and signature green spaces are a fundamental part of the campus experience.  We appreciate that the proposed residence will introduce a new form and architecture to the Albert Street streetscape.  As such, the project team has drawn from the Campus Master Plan for guidance to ensure that the new residence supports the architectural tradition of the campus while incorporating contemporary building techniques and sustainable practices.  Some of the key design objectives, as informed by the Master Plan, include:

  • Placing and massing the building in a way that will frame and animate the street;
  • Achieving setbacks that are consistent with those of neighbouring buildings;
  • Providing visual interest and breaks in the building massing to reduce the perceived size; 
  • Respecting the low-rise and mid-rise scale and general character of development on the campus;
  • Use of materials that are subdued or complementary to the existing structure; and,
  • The use of glazing that is of high performance and without tinting, particularly when enclosing public spaces.

There are several benefits associated with the existing private lane that services this site.  It presents an opportunity to focus servicing activities, such as pick-ups and deliveries and garbage collection, in a service corridor that currently supports access and parking for a number of properties in the area.  Currently, the service entrance is proposed at the rear of the building which will help ensure loading activities and garbage collection are consolidated and screened from view.

It should be noted that as part of the Site Plan Control application, a Detailed Noise Study will be required which will examine potential noise impacts of the development on nearby sensitive uses.  This study will model noise impacts from components such as delivery movements and exterior mechanical equipment and recommend mitigation measures, if required.

The proposed residence will not include vehicular parking, so there are no anticipated traffic impacts associated with the development.  Foot traffic is expected to increase throughout the day as students enter and exit the residence for classes, meals and other activities.

We acknowledge that the new residence will increase student activities along this portion of Albert Street.  The current design focusses exterior amenity space within an enclosed courtyard, which will help to contain potential noise associated with student activities.  Exterior lighting will be located and designed to minimize spillover on adjacent properties.  As part of the Site Plan Control application, a Lighting Plan will be prepared and submitted which will illustrate the location of exterior lighting and the expected light spread pattern.     

Can you address the concerns regarding potential geophysical impacts of the development on surrounding properties?

Queen’s has undertaken a geotechnical investigation, prepared by a qualified geotechnical engineer.  This investigation did not find any evidence of subsurface streams, consequently, we feel confident that the pooling of water is due to surface runoff. A stormwater management report is being prepared to identify all potential drainage-related impacts related to the residence and will assess the quantity and/or quality control of stormwater runoff.  The project is also expected to result in improvements to existing drainage on the private lane through the introduction of improved grading patterns and catch basins. In accordance with City of Kingston policy, post-development runoff cannot exceed pre-development runoff. 

Can you address some of the ecological impacts regarding bird breeding and migration?

This site is located within the urban built-up area and is occupied by long-established development.  While mature trees exist, the undeveloped portions of the site are not in a naturalized state.  A major objective of the redevelopment includes maintaining as many of the existing mature street trees as possible, as they contribute to both the cultural heritage and streetscape value of Albert Street.